It breaks my heart a little when I see food being dumping in the trash can. Especially when it’s excellent worm food.
I think people chose to contribute their leftovers to a landfill instead of using it to feed earthworms and help heal their land because composting seems complicated, difficult or even stinky. When you do an internet search about composting, there are an overwhelming number of ways to do this. You need so much green material to so much brown. You need to turn it every x days. Build this or buy that. It’s enough to make you give up and just throw your food to the landfill.
Well, I’m here to beg you to STOP! Composting is so easy. To prove it to yourself, drop a banana peel outside and watch it disappear in a week. Or, leave some lettuce in your crisper drawer in your fridge. That lettuce will start composting even though you haven’t added the proper “brown” Material.
Here are three (simple) ways to compost:
1. On my parent’s small parcel of land, they used four straw bales to create sides, then they dump their compostable waste to the center. This includes any yard waste and kitchen waste.
2. When I lived in a townhouse, I had a micro sized backyard with neighbors all around and no privacy. So it was important that whatever I did, didn’t smell and wasn’t incredibly ugly. So I took an old tote and drilled holes around the sides, in the bottom and through the lid. These totes are inexpensive at about $5 to $10 depending on size. I had to replace it every two years, as the sun would make the plastic brittle and break.
When I didn’t have a drill handy one year, I used a sharp kitchen knife to cut holes. These holes allow airflow, water flow and for the beautiful earthworms to get in there and turn your waste into black gold.
I also talked to a man who lived where keeping a compost pile was strongly frowned upon. He used garbage can that had some hole drilled in. His neighbors thought he had a bin with waste to go to a landfill (which was more acceptable than the actual earth saving compost he had brewing inside).
I would stir this every once in awhile (but I don’t really think i needed to). When I planted anything, I would use some of the beautiful black gold to supplement my soil. If it ever started to stink, I would add some grass clippings, tree trimmings, or if you are desperate, buy some straw.
This method worked so well, I used to put some old meat scraps in there (sparingly). I would put them in the bottom of the pile, and what do you know!? They decomposed away. I would not do this often, but I just wanted to illustrate that all those rules declared are more like guidelines for you to play with. Things rot (compost) and you will figure it out.
3. Now, most of my kitchen scraps go out to my chickens. But there are a few things that they are not interested in, such as banana peels and coffee grounds.
I use a sheet composting method for that. I simply pick up some straw that is covering my plants (if you don’t have mulch on your plants, dig a little hole to throw your scraps in or just put it on the surface), and throw my scraps down, always in a different spot. And I’m done. The earthworms and bacteria do their job and I am left with beautiful, happy plants with out any headaches.
Sometimes, I will even get compost that decides to sprout instead of rot down. That is where my garlic plantings came from this year.
I have parsnips (that I though was celery) that sprouted, too.
While my way of composting is probably not best by any means, it is better than not composting at all. So please compost. It will help your garden and your environment.